Its always cool when we can marry two wildly different fields to try and solve a problem. In this case researchers took a mathematical framework (Modern Portfolio Theory- originally developed to help investors that are risk-ad verse to maximise returns) and applied it to help identify the coral reefs that are most likely to ‘do well’ under future climate change.
One pretty neat result of the study is that the researchers took into account the various risks and identified 50 areas that are resilient to different risks of climate change predictions – i.e. we wouldn’t be putting all our eggs in one basket, and we’d be ‘diversifying’ our ‘investment portfolio’.
The Guardian did a pretty neat breakdown here: Nobel-winning stock market theory used to help save coral reefs
And those interested in the research article can find it here: Risk-sensitive planning for conserving coral reefs under rapid climate change
Tanya Strydom is a PhD student at the Université de Montréal, mostly focusing on how we can use machine learning and artificial intelligence in ecology. Current research interests include (but are not limited to) predicting ecological networks, the role species traits and scale in ecological networks, general computer (and maths) geekiness, and a (seemingly) ever growing list of side projects. Tweets (sometimes related to actual science) can be found @TanyaS_08.